Gene McDaniels: Tower of Strength (1961)

 |   |  1 min read

Gene McDaniels: Tower of Strength (1961)

When Nick Lowe sang this oldie in concert at the Powerstation recently (see review here), it's a fair bet many in the audience either didn't recognise it, or hadn't heard it in over four decades.

Lowe's treatment -- slow, less dramatic -- made the lyrics act as a neat counterpoint to his own bitter I Trained Her to Love Me. But in McDaniel's hands this song he co-wrote with Burt Bacharach is a very different thing.

McDaniels (who'd previously had a chart hit with 100lbs of Clay) offers a mixture of anger and vengance in the lyrics ("you'd be down on your knees, you'd be calling to meee") with that gulp of regret and self-loathing at his own weakness ("but a tower of strength is something ... [gulp] ... I'll never be").

This was about the last time anyone heard of McDaniels who quit the States after the assassination of Martin Luther King and went to Europe to live and be a songwriter. It worked, he wrote I Feel LIke Making Love (sung by Roberta Flack) which won a Grammy in the mid Seventies, but when he returned to the States he kept a very low profile and died in July 2011, aged 76.

However in the final decade of his quiet life he was much sampled and his powerful, political Compared to What of '69 threw a spotlight on another side of McDaniels. 

However Tower of Strength is a strange one with its drunken trombone and those great gulps.

Once heard .. [gulp] ... never forgotten? 

 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Cowboy Junkies: State Trooper (1986)

Cowboy Junkies: State Trooper (1986)

When the world started becoming very noisy around the time of grunge, the Cowboy Junkies out of Canada had the oldest trick in any public speaker's book. When everyone else is shouting, you speak... > Read more

Juanes: La Camisa Negra (2005)

Juanes: La Camisa Negra (2005)

Unless you follow Latin pop then La Camisa Negra/The Black Shirt might be the biggest hit you never heard by a global star don't even known about. Juanes from Colombia has sold 15 million... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is seduced by the Impressionism, again

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is seduced by the Impressionism, again

To be honest, I was very sceptical about the forthcoming documentary The Impressionists (Sky Arts Channel, Thur April 19, 8.30) I mean, the Impressionists – what don’t we already... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Black Sabbath; Paranoid

THE BARGAIN BUY: Black Sabbath; Paranoid

Always good to see an Essential Elsewhere album turn up as a Bargain Buy, and this being a classic hard rock album it should be in any sensible collection -- even just for its ear cleansing abiity.... > Read more